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SEARCHLIGHT  OX HINDUISM                               77
there and everywhere, it accumulated to itself a mass of purely
human superstitions, deifying instinct, sanctifying convenience^
and giving divine authority to human passion, till it found itself
saddled with several thousand 'gods/ some of them of the most
disreputable character, 'gods5 of greed and cgods3 of lust.
As the old Abbe Dubois wrote, a hundred and fifty years ago:
'The Hindus originally possessed a conception, imperfect though it
was, of the true God ; but this knowledge grew more and more dim.,
until at last it became extinguished in the darkness of error, of ignor-
ance and of corruption. Confounding the Creator with His creatures,
they set up gods who were merely myths and monstrosities, and to
them they addressed their prayers and directed their worship, both of
which were as false as the attributes which they assigned to these
divinities. And as a matter of course, the taint of corruption which
characterizes all the religious institutions of the Hindus has duly left
its mark on their social morality. How, indeed, could virtue prevail
in a country where all the vices of mankind are justified by those of
their gods?*
These are hard words, but they cannot be gainsaid. There may
be many who suggest that Christianity is equally mythical; they
are entitled to that belief; but they can hardly suggest that it is
equally monstrous. Christian children are not taught to prostrate
themselves at phallic symbols, they do not worship in the shadow
of fantastic obscenities which no Hindu has ever dreamed of
veiling. Christian children are not taught to hate and despise
their brethren, to shrink from their very shadow.
The symbols still stand, in this year of 1944; the untouchables
still grovel, in this year of 1944 ; Hinduism is still going strong in
this year of 1944. That is the point, and that is why it is urgently
necessary for the rest of the world to face it, however startling its
implications. If Hinduism were a dying creed, we could afford
to ignore its practical effects. But it is as full of savage life as the
jungle from which it so largely emanated.
JPhis has not been a pleasant chapter to write. That it will be
resented by the Hindus is obvious ; that it will also be resented by
the British is inevitable. It has been our time-honoured policy
not to interfere with the religious susceptibilities of the peoples
over whom we have authority. This policy has not caused IBS